Lean Manufacturing

Waste is one of the biggest problems in manufacturing. This doesn’t just apply to wasted raw materials, but also to wasted time, uneven workloads, wasted energy, and wasted attention. Efficiency is key in manufacturing, and waste impedes efficiency.

There are a number of different ways to address waste in manufacturing. Over the past few decades a method devoted entirely to cutting out waste in the manufacturing process has become popular. Lean manufacturing focuses on continuously and systematically eliminating waste and increasing value.

Lean manufacturing – sometimes referred to as lean production, or simply as lean – is a philosophy that’s about trimming the fat, and getting rid of anything that consumes more resources than it adds value. Basically, you remove anything that does not add value, leaving only the valuable parts of your production process.

This is a philosophy that has been used in Japanese manufacturing since the 1970s, but it was not known as lean manufacturing until the 1990s. Although there are different approaches to lean, the goal remains constant. It focuses on continuously improving and refining the manufacturing process, eliminating waste and increasing efficiency over time.

Waste can be defined as any activity that consumes resources without adding value. By eliminating waste, manufacturers are able to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

Manufacturers can provide goods in the quantities that are needed. Taking pre-orders is an example of when customer demand dictates production, helping minimize overproduction and inventory.

Focusing one oneĀ  single piece at a time in the production process increases quality and flexibility.

Uneven work distribution is something that can generate a lot of waste. Balancing work content can help manufacturers achieve optimal efficiency and respond to changes in the workplace.

Lean frees up inventory and shortens lead times. It improves productivity and quality, and increases long term savings. Lean manufacturing also lends itself to increased speed and fewer errors. In other words, lean can be an extremely beneficial practice in manufacturing.

Although lean was developed in manufacturing, it can be applied to a wide range of sectors, industries, and even parts of daily life.